December 31, 2013

Top Ten Books I Read in 2013

This week's topic is a super fun one - "Top Ten Books I Read in 2013"! Kind of like a highlight reel! :)

Under the Never Sky (Under the Never Sky, #1)
1. Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi - Love love loved this one! It's one of the only five star reads that I've had in a while, and it was fricking fantastic. I CANNOT begin to describe how much I loved this one! And I'm really in love with Perry!

2. My Life After Now by Jessica Verdi - I have never read a book that dealt so honestly with sexually transmitted diseases. One of the most honest debuts I've read in a long time - and I haven't read another one like it yet.

3. Crash Into You by Katie McGarry - I'm pretty much in love with all of Katie McGarry's work. It's true, and I waited for this one for a while. I read an EARC, but I just had to buy my own copy. It's amazing.

4. The Vanishing by Wendy Webb - SCARY. Like, seriously. I definitely recommend this to anyone who's looking for a good read that's every bit twists and turns. I never knew who to trust or what to think, which is a good thing in this case.

The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom (The League of Princes, #1)5. The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater - I almost didn't read this one, who knows why. But I'm really glad that I did, because I loved it. Maggie's writing is so ridiculously gorgeous that it kills me.

6. The Vincent Brothers by Abbi Glines - I read this one over and over. I really thought that I would dislike Sawyer's story, because of how he acted in the first book. But turns out that he's my favorite brother.

7. The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy - FUN. This book is just super fun, and the illustrations are freaking awesome! Christopher Healy is really hilarious, and anyone who thinks this book is "just for kids" is wrong.

8. Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson - This book was super enchanting. I loved the writing, and the world of Neverland was so twisting and cruel.

9. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell - I didn't think that I would love this one, but I did. The ending just kills me, though! I really wanted to get my HEA. :/

10. Scarlet by Marissa Meyer - I'm pretty positive that Scarlet was one of the best books that I read all year. It was definitely better than Cinder, and I have super high hopes for Cress!

December 30, 2013

Catching Liam by Gennifer Albin

Catching Liam (Good Girls Don't, #1)
Catching Liam by Gennifer Albin
Series: Good Girls Don't, #1
Source: Bought
Publisher: Self-published
Publication Date: July 8, 2013
Twenty-one year-old Jillian Nichols only has one rule when it comes to boys: catch and release. Boy-catching isn't just a game for Jillian and her friends, it's a lifestyle. After all, boys might be good for a dance or a drink and certainly a little under-cover action of the scandalous variety, but expect much else and you're bound for heart ache.

So when her best friends and fellow boy catchers start dropping like flies junior year, Jillian is determined to keep boys in her bedroom and out of her heart. Until she meets Liam McAvoy, the kind of guy that sticks around to make waffles and who can't—or perhaps won't—take a hint.

Study abroad student Liam doesn't want to be another notch on Jillian's bedpost. Actually he has much more interesting ideas for Jillian and her bedposts, but his student visa's set expiration date means he can't promise her forever. That doesn't mean he's going to walk away from the challenge of discovering why Jillian is hell-bent at keeping people at a distance.

Before long, neither is sure who is catching who—or if they're playing for keeps. Jillian knows one thing though: falling in love will not only break the only rule of boy-catching, it could also break her heart.
Catching Liam was another drama-ridden new adult novel. Maybe I'm just being judgemental, or holding books to too high of a standard, but recently nothing seems like a hit or miss with me. Especially new adult. I honestly think that they're getting the worst ratings from me.

Don't get me wrong, Catching Liam was a fun, sweet read, but it really didn't wow me. I found Liam and Jillian as a couple to be adorable, but I also think that there was a little too much emphasis on Jillian in their relationship. It seemed like everything was her her her, and I didn't particularly like that. She acts a bit like she's the only one in the world with problems, and that just rubbed me wrong. Not to mention the fact that she was keeping secrets from the very beginning, and the fact that oh, she's falling hard and she can't tell him so. She's keeping so many secrets that they were eating her up in side, and when they finally came out it was like this huge, big, drama-ridden ordeal. I feel like the drama was drawn out for effect.

Liam too-- he was really swoony at first, but then he made a couple of decisions that put him off me a bit, then he redeemed himself, and I just think he was drawn out and I don't know what to make of his character. I forgive him because he made waffles, though.

Jillian's mom, Tara, was so mean to them! I didn't understand why she was such a jerk for a long time, but then I did and it was painfully obvious that she just wasn't sure how to respond to her daughter, which I found really sad. Not only that, but in the end, she really did help her daughter and no one seems to see it. They just see her as a terrible person.

Moving on to the secondary characters. I felt that they all could have been more developed. All in all, Catching Liam wasn't awesome, but it wasn't terrible either. I'm a solid three on this one, and I feel like my review makes me sound like I hated it...but I really didn't.

December 29, 2013

Scene It Sunday #5: City of Bones Movie Review

City of Bones
Series: The Mortal Instruments, #1
Source: Bought
Leads: Lily Collins, Jamie Campbell Bower

When her mother disappears, Clary Fray learns that she descends from a line of warriors who protect our world from demons. She joins forces with others like her and heads into a dangerous alternate New York called Downworld.

I'm going to start off by saying that I'm sorry that both of the last "Scene It Sunday"'s have been movie reviews - I promise you that was not how I planned it. I expected to have at least one problem with this movie. But, actually - there was not one thing that I would have changed about it. Not one thing was left out - there were even original lines from the book!

I really liked the actress who played Clary (Lily Collins), and the actor who played Simon. They both played their parts well, and I'm going to tell you that Simon is just as cute and adorable as he was in the books! I wasn't sure about Jamie Campbell Bower as Jace (he's just not what I pictured), but after the end of the movie, I can honestly say that he's won me over. Spot on portrayal! (And what is that accent? It's awesome!)

The atmosphere was absolutely perfect. The blend of elements - the Downworld, and everything else... gorgeous. I didn't expect to like it so much! When we went into the Shadowhunters' club in the beginning, all I could think about was how absolutely stunning it all was - and how much it was exactly what I pictured! Just... ah it's beautiful!

The demon scenes were... to put it bluntly, chilling. I was freaking out a bit when that dog's head split open, I will tell you that right now. Valentine was... weirdly attractive. And I can see that they chose someone who could definitely be charming if he tried. Hodge was also spot on, and Isabelle and Alec were well cast.

I almost died when I saw Magnus Bane - he is perfect for the part! My only real problem is that I question how Simon will look in later movies, because they didn't make an effort to make the vamps look normal - they look pale and sunken in. The werewolves were good - Luke looks just as fatherly as I always pictured him... and Jocelyn really does look a lot like the actress who plays Clary!

The original storyline was kept to, and the OUTFITS. They were absolutely frickin' amazing! All black and gloves and aahhhh. I just - I heart it. All in all, I've gotta say that I really loved the City of Bones movie! I watched it twice within three days, so definitely check it out.

December 28, 2013

Conditioned to Love Bad Boys?

Question: Does anyone else ever feel like they're trained or "conditioned" to love bad boys from an early age? Think about all of the books that you've read recently. How many featured bad boys as the love interest or hero, and how many got the girl in the end? Was their even a "good guy" present? Or did the bad boy take all the glory?

Did he sweep the heroine off of her feet, tell her his sob story about his broken home and how his life sucks? Did she fall for it? Did you fall for it too? I'm going to profess it right here and now: I'm pretty much in love with the bad boy trope. Piercings, tattoos, motorcycles, reckless behavior? I'm in.

So it's made me wonder... have we been conditioned to love things like that? Because I've noticed that something like 98% of book bloggers suffer from this affliction, while the other 2% either doesn't care or rolls it's eyes at us. But we can't help it. We swoon over the silliest things. Pressing people against walls? *swoon* Driving dangerously so the girl will hold tighter to you? *swoon*

We fall for the most abusive relationships. The ones where you know that you shouldn't love this couple together, they're only bad for each other, but you're totally rooting for them. We're totally and completely conditioned, and it doesn't help that so many books these days are making abusive relationships okay.

Edward? He stalked Bella, watched her sleep, craved her blood, and got her knocked up & bruised within a week of their marriage. Fail.

Jacob? Also after Bella, but more primal about it. He falls in love with Bella's whatever aged daughter, and is kind of creepy after that, because she's so young. It's gross.

Patch? (Totally like him, sadly.) He convinced Nora that he was killing her on a roller coaster, stalked her, Was plotting to do something terrible to her, and he also pushed her up against every surface available and wouldn't really let her say no.

I hear that Jude from Crash is a doozy, and there are probably several other characters that could be mentioned as being lusted after yet bad choices. I feel like, maybe as women, we have this idea that men should be rough and possessive. What does that say for all of our futures, and for the futures of children, if we all lust after men who are on the road to abusive-ness?

I will freely admit that I like it in books when men/boys are possessive, and ride motorcycles, are overly tatted, or have a face full of piercings. That's no problem for me. But is there something that makes us love these tropes? I tend to fall for them all, no matter how bad they are, or what they do. Sometimes I draw the line, because stalking is creepy... but there are some guys that I still love who are totally stalkers. What does that say about me? Am I a bad person?

What do you think? Is it bad for us to love these seemingly uncaring, bad guys? Do you fall for them as well?

December 27, 2013

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

Eleanor & Park
Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
Series: N/A
Source: Bought
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: February 26, 2013
Set over the course of one school year in 1986, ELEANOR AND PARK is the story of two star-crossed misfits – smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you’ll remember your own first love – and just how hard it pulled you under.
Fun fact about me: an ending can just make or break a book for me. If it has a rocking ending, maybe my previous three star rating will go up, and if it has a crappy ending maybe my previous five star rating will go down. I'll give you three guesses as to what happened here.

If you didn't guess, the ending sort of broke this one for me. It still gets four stars, but because it's a work of genius and a romance between two NORMAL people. But the ending... as realistic as it was, that was a book thrower for me. Good thing that it's on my kindle, or I literally would've - I sort of gently tossed my kindle away.

I kind of started backwards here, to tell you the truth. Let's go back to the beginning. The first paragraph, the first sentence - they were like instant hooks. I wanted to know all about Eleanor and Park, and why Park is looking so hard for resemblances in other people. Lucky for me, we found out pretty sudden like. I loved how normal and lovable both Eleanor and Park were.

Eleanor could be a bit overbearing and brash at times, but it's just her personality - and it's very easy to get used to, because I know several people that Eleanor could literally be. It was easy to imagine her, because she was just so real! I also liked Park - he was like the cutest thing ever. Really. And he's so mushy adorbs - finally a sweet guy! (And chivalrous!) *hugs fictional character*

I also appreciated their family dynamics. It was really nice to see Eleanor and her mom go to the grocery store... I mean, that just made my day! Real, normal every day things! In a book! And the world didn't end! But Eleanor's stepfather is....gross. I really, really disliked him. Like, I would beat you badly disliked him.

Contrary-wise, both of Park's parents were great! His mom was a little iffy at first, but I grew to like her. Some of the things that she says are just too funny. And Park's dad was a pretty good guy, even if he is a little tough on Park.

Eleanor & Park together, though... the warm fuzzies. They were so cute, and I love love loved them together! They were kind of awkward sometimes, but it was still so cute. I do think that Park's confession of love was only because he was scared, though. He could've waited just a little bit longer before he threw it out there. (Oh, like that's a spoiler. You already knew that they were going to fall in love!)

All in all, Eleanor and Park would have been at LEAST a four point five for me, if the ending just hadn't killed it for me. I do want to read more by Rainbow Rowell, though!

December 26, 2013

See Jane Run by Hannah Jayne + Playlist

See Jane Run
See Jane Run by Hannah Jayne
Series: N/A
Source: Publisher for Blog Tour through Netgalley
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication Date: January 7, 2014
I know who you are.

When Riley first gets the postcard tucked into her bag, she thinks it's a joke. Then she finds a birth certificate for a girl named Jane Elizabeth O'Leary hidden inside her baby book.

Riley's parents have always been pretty overprotective. What if it wasn't for her safety...but fear of her finding out their secret? What have they been hiding? The more Riley digs for answers, the more questions she has.

The only way to know the truth? Find out what happened to Jane O'Leary.

I think it's time to accept the fact that thrillers in the YA genre just may not be my thing - I struggle with them. I can't help but be upset when I figure it out before it happens, and even when I don't I'm not particularly impressed. See Jane Run was another thriller that I liked, but I just didn't love. There were a few legit terrifying moments, but most of the time I was anticipating the next plot twist.

Riley as a character... is slightly contradicting. Sometimes I just wanted to shake some sense into her - she was just really clueless! She's very trusting... and naive. I just couldn't get past that character flaw. I couldn't connect with her.

I liked JD, but I got pretty unsure about him towards the end - I just didn't know who to trust anymore, and I just don't like not being able to trust anyone. I always feel like I'm missing something in a situation like that. Which I guess is the point.

See Jane Run did have some very scary and thriller-ish moments in it, which did up my enjoyment level. Sometimes it's fun to be scared, but I feel like it was just missing something. The twists were easily figured out, and the characters left something to be desired. All in all, I didn't particularly care for it - it was just enjoyable enough.
Riley Spencer’s adventure is spurned on by secrets, and so is the See Jane Run playlist!
Riley and Shelby sneak into the Spencer’s bedroom.
Dirty Little Secret – All-American Rejects
Riley slips into JD’s bus seat and hatches her plan…
Real Wild Child – Everlife
Jumping the train…
Live While We’re Young – One Direction
The man trailing Riley (or is he?)
Timber – Pitbull
Leaving town…
Let Her Go – Passenger
Second guessing…
Demons – Imagine Dragons
Riley and JD…
Burn – Ellie Goulding
Meeting Jane O’Leary…
Wrecking Ball – Miley Cyrus
The final stand off…
Quicksand – Bridgit Mendler
Coming clean…
Wait for Me – Shane Harper

Hannah JayneAbout Hannah Jayne:
Hannah is the author of the UNDERWORLD DETECTION AGENCY CHRONICLES from Kensington books and the upcoming young adult thrillers TRULY, MADLY, DEADLY and SEE JANE RUN available from Sourcebooks, Inc. When she's not battling the demons of the Underworld or tackling a murderer at Hawthorne High, Jayne kicks her feet up in her San Francisco bay area home and attempts to share couch space with two enormous cats.

December 24, 2013

Top Ten Books I Wouldn't Mind Santa Bringing Me

I'm just going to come right out and say that all I want for Christmas IS books. So I guess I'll give you guys a list of the books I want the absolute most - I'm kind of in love with this topic! I feel like I can only write books that have already been released, though. Santa isn't a miracle worker! *wink, wink*

Shug1. ALL of Maggie Stiefvater's books! I'd love to experience every one of them - so far the Raven Boys series is completely winning me over! (and YES, I counted this as one book... because I could. LOL.)

2. Shug by Jenny Han - I love almost everything that Jenny writes; her Summer series is delicious, and her Burn for Burn series is so revengey... I just want to read everything of hers!

3. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo - Everyone raves about this book, and I have the movie (which I haven't watched yet). I'd just really like to see what this is all about, you know?

The Ocean at the End of the Lane4. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald - I see quotes from this book everywhere, and Sarah from Book-A-Holic says that it's one of her favorite books! That's definitely enough for me to go lusting after it!

5. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman - I love Neil Gaiman! He wrote one of my all time favorite books, Stardust, so naturally I want to read his newest release! And look at that cover... it's so pretty.

6. Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare - I have the rest of this series, and I'm re-reading them... but I don't have this one yet!

7. The Hero's Guide to Storming the Castle by Christopher Healy - I love this series. It's the best MG that I've ever read, so I really want to continue! I love the illustrations and all the jokes. It's just adorable!

I literally can't think of anything else right off, so I think this is where this one should end! Are you wanting any of these books? Do they look good? :)

December 23, 2013

Roomies by Sara Zarr & Tara Altebrando

Roomies by Sara Zarr & Tara Altebrando
Series: N/A
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Little, Brown
Publication Date: December 24, 2013
It's time to meet your new roomie.

When East Coast native Elizabeth receives her freshman-year roommate assignment, she shoots off an e-mail to coordinate the basics: television, microwave, mini-fridge. That first note to San Franciscan Lauren sparks a series of e-mails that alters the landscape of each girl's summer -- and raises questions about how two girls who are so different will ever share a dorm room.

As the countdown to college begins, life at home becomes increasingly complex. With family relationships and childhood friendships strained by change, it suddenly seems that the only people Elizabeth and Lauren can rely on are the complicated new boys in their lives . . . and each other. Even though they've never met.

National Book Award finalist Sara Zarr and acclaimed author Tara Altebrando join forces for a novel about growing up, leaving home, and getting that one fateful e-mail that assigns your college roommate.
When I started Roomies, I was unsure about what to expect. I featured it on WoW, so clearly I wanted it... but... I didn't know how Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando would write together, so I was keeping my fingers crossed & my hopes at a manageable level. Turns out that I didn't need to be so worried. Because I enjoyed it, even if my final rating is three stars!

I really liked the alternating points of view. Some remarked (and I silently agreed) that you can't tell who wrote each character, and it's totally true. Sara and Tara write very well together, to the point of being indistinguishable. But that doesn't mean that the characters were as such! I actually found Elizabeth and Lauren to be very well done - they had very different personalities, and I loved how they clashed and didn't. It made for a very interesting friendship.

At first, I honestly wasn't even sure that they were going to be friends, because I actually didn't like Lauren all that much. But I'm proud to say that she grew on me throughout the book. There came a point when I just couldn't choose between them, because I loved them both as characters!

I loved the idea that future "roomies" were emailing each other. It was an interesting concept. Their stories intertwined so well, and their personalities were so different that it was fun to read between the lines with them. Lauren was a lot more blunt that Elizabeth, which meant she didn't always think things through before she said them; and Elizabeth was a lot more... she was such an overthinker! Sometimes I just wanted to be all like "STAHP GIRLY IT'S NOT THAT COMPLICATED!" to her. I mean, I kind of think that she needed that!

My only real problem with this book is how much they hurt each other. I mean, I know that people make mistakes and it's a fact of life, but they both did some things that I didn't really approve of. Sadly. On another note, I enjoyed the romances. Lauren and Elizabeth both have completely different lives, but I enjoyed the fact that they were going through a lot of the same things. It helped them to relate to each other, which was great. And, like I said, the romances. So cute! They weren't particularly rushed, and I feel like each character got a chance to get to know the other. Adorable!

I liked the separate dramas. Elizabeth's with her mom and dad, and Lauren's with her big family. I loved Lauren's family, they gave her a certain depth. I felt like her family really made her a better character. I also liked the open ending. I'm not usually a fan, but it just fit for Roomies!

All in all, I enjoyed this one. I would recommend it, but only if you don't mind reading character driven books.

December 22, 2013

Scene It Sunday #4: The Hunger Games Movie Review

The Hunger Games (2012) Poster
The Hunger Games
Series: The Hunger Games, #1
Source: Bought
Leads: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson
Katniss Everdeen voluntarily takes her younger sister's place in the Hunger Games, a televised fight to the death in which two teenagers from each of the twelve Districts of Panem are chosen at random to compete.

I'm just going to come right out here and say it. I honestly don't think that the movie is as good as the book was. But to be honest, I never really expected it to be, so I'll just go on to talk about the bits that I like.

I feel like Jennifer Lawrence was the perfect actress to play Katniss - I really think that she does it well. She shows some emotion, but a lot of the time she appears to be very tough and together, which is what Katniss always portrayed to me. There was nothing that I found lacking about her acting skills.

Josh Hutcherson (who plays Peeta), was also a good actor, but I always pictured Peeta a bit different than him, I guess. He just wasn't who I expected, although he does the part fairly well. I missed the interactions between Katniss an Peeta - in the book, they had a lot more conversations and just... you know... togetherness. That was missing from the movie. I think that the director & producers made a decision to focus more on the action, rather than the character development. I think that only people who read the book will be even slightly bothered by that, though.

I liked the bleak look of District 12 - it was so gray and depressing and pretty much perfect in my eyes, and so was the capitol. Upon first watching of this movie, I didn't think that they were crazy enough looking, but I'm thinking that now they look pretty well made up. Effie was perfectly over the top, and Rue was just as sweet as she was in the book.

There were several smaller parts that I didn't care for  - I don't particularly like the part of Gale - he just wasn't in the movie very much, and I didn't connect with him. Haymitch was okay, but I always imagined him as more of an extreme drunk.

I liked seeing the gamemaker setup - it was interesting to see something from that side, and I enjoyed the actual game scenes. They were pretty well done. I just couldn't get into the many silent parts, though. I found them oddly disconcerting. They made sense with the overall style, but I just wish they had done it differently. I actually had an awkward moment of trying to figure out how it was that the sound wasn't working anymore.

All in all, The Hunger Games movie was interesting, and I liked seeing one of my favorite books on screen, but I think that it could have been better.

December 21, 2013

Advertising: How Do You Feel?

Today I just wanna ask you guys a question: How do you feel about advertising? We see it everywhere - TV (if you have it), Movies, Billboards, Websites, Blogs... but how do you feel about it? Do you think there's a tasteful way to advertise anything, or do you consider it "gaudy" and "selling out" whenever you see it?

Personally, I really don't mind blogs that advertise. I click on the ads at Goodreads - I'm just super careful and only click on ads that I know won't hit me with a virus. I'm wary of some of them, and others I just have to roll my eyes at. (Do people really click on Viagra ads? I mean, seriously.)

But I'm not opposed to them. I see all kinds of blogs where it's just nothing but ads, or the ads are completely hidden (in the footer, hard to find, etc). And I wonder if those do any good. Do people read the blogs that are all adspace? (I mean, I assume that folks do, otherwise they wouldn't be advertising...right?)

I'm asking you guys this question to kind of feel you out a bit - I'm kind of thinking about advertising, but I don't really know if it's the right move for me. So be as detailed as possible with all of your thoughts - I don't care if Disqus truncates your comment! Just let me know what you think of it. :)

Do you think there's a tasteful way to advertise? Do bloggers lose all credibility for you when they advertise?

December 20, 2013

The Mad Scientist's Daughter by Cassandra Rose Clarke

The Mad Scientist's Daughter
The Mad Scientist's Daughter by Cassandra Rose Clarke
Series: N/A
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Angry Robot
Publication Date: January 29, 2013
"Cat, this is Finn. He's going to be your tutor."

Finn looks and acts human, though he has no desire to be. He was programmed to assist his owners, and performs his duties to perfection. A billion-dollar construct, his primary task is now to tutor Cat. As she grows into a beautiful young woman, Finn is her guardian, her constant companion...and more. But when the government grants rights to the ever-increasing robot population, however, Finn struggles to find his place in the world, and in Cat's heart.

I guess I'll just get straight to the heart of things - I didn't love The Mad Scientist's Daughter. I've seen lots and lots of favorable reviews on it, but it just didn't go as well for me. I thought that the point of view/writing style was very strange, but as the book progressed I became used to it; which means it really wasn't one of my peeves.

But there were lots of peeves. Lots and lots of peeves. Let's start with Cat. In the beginning chapter, Cat is really young - maybe 8 or 10? That wasn't a problem. The problem was that she got older throughout the book - and it didn't register with me until she was like twenty. Her voice didn't really change between those ages, which just bothered me. Everyone's perception of things changes as they grow older, and Cat's just... didn't. She was pretty much the same person, from beginning to end. I hoped for character growth from her, I really did.

And don't even get me started on the romance. We have the romance plottish thing with Finn - that's quite the focus throughout the story, and it honestly raised a lot of moral questions for me - and sometimes just questions like how everything works. Not to be awkward or anything... but robot sex? *shudders* For some reason, the idea just grosses me out. And it makes me question things about Finn's... you know... LET'S NOT GO THERE (how can his junk possibly work?!) (Yep, this is what I was questioning. Laugh if you must.) In all honesty, such a thing should just not be possible.

Aside from all of this "not possible" thing, there's also the fact that Cat repeatedly uses Finn. Like, uses him and then runs off with her boyfriend of the week. The girl is constantly attached to someone else, which made for quite a few annoying and slightly awkward love triangle situations.

Now we'll move on to the pacing - the pacing was insane. Time progressed so quickly that I'm not even sure where some of our time went. I think that there was maybe like... 15 - 20 years packed into this book? And there's lots of gaps in between, so sometimes I just couldn't follow. Coupled with Cat's eternal youth, it really was just awkward.

I didn't have enough background on the world or the circumstances to really love it, but the atmosphere was nice and gothic. I just... I feel like there were too many awkward plot twists and ridiculous changes throughout the book for me to really love it. It's one of the strangest books that I've ever read, but it gets three stars for originality and enjoyment levels, even if there were a lot of things that I disliked.

December 19, 2013

Mistress of the Wind by Michelle Diener

Mistress of the Wind
Mistress of the Wind by Michelle Diener
Series: N/A
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Self-published
Publication Date: December 19, 2013
Bjorn needs to find a very special woman . . . 

The fate of his people, and his own life, depends on it. But when he does find her, she is nothing like he imagined, and may just harbor more secrets than he does himself.

Astrid has never taken well to commands. No matter who issues them . . . 

She's clashed her whole life with her father, and now her lover, the mysterious man who comes to her bedroom in darkness and disappears to guard his mountain by day as a bear, is finding it out the hard way. And when he's taken by his enemies, no one is prepared for Astrid's response.

It is never wise to anger the mistress of the wind . . . 

A captivating and magical adult retelling of the fairy tale East of the Sun, West of the Moon.

I'm going to start out by saying that I really don't have very many thoughts on Mistress of the Wind. Since I haven't read the fairytale that this is based on, I went in completely blind! I had no idea how it might end, or even if the original was good at all. And while I liked Mistress of the Wind, I didn't love it.

To me, it felt like a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, to tell you the truth. I liked the way that it was told - kind of like an old historical book, with a dash of mysterious allies and strange happenings. I'd say the biggest thing that kept me from loving this one was simply the amount of time that it took me to read! I couldn't get into it enough to just sit down and read it for long stretches of time - I believe I averaged about forty pages per reading.

I liked the story, but I didn't really know what to think of it. There were lots of twists that I anticipated, and while it really was interesting... I just came out at a point where I have no idea what to think. Astrid was an interesting main character, and I liked how she learned to use her newfound abilities... but I can't help but think that she was a bit of a contradiction.

In the beginning, she seemed very strong and sure of herself, but as the novel progressed, she became less and less sure of what she wanted. That disappointed me, because I liked how self-aware and awesome she was in the beginning. All of the tests and such that she participated in just proved to me how much she'd kind of just... lost it.

And the love interest, Bjorn... I wish I could have liked him more, but my only thoughts about him are kind of "meh". All in all, Mistress of the Wind wasn't a love for me. I liked it, but I didn't connect with either of the characters.

December 18, 2013

Unbreak My Heart by Melissa Walker

Unbreak My Heart
Unbreak My Heart by Melissa Walker
Series: N/A
Source: Bought
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Publication Date: May 28, 2013
Sophomore year broke Clementine Williams' heart. She fell for her best friend's boyfriend and long story short: he's excused, but Clem is vilified and she heads into summer with zero social life.

Enter her parents' plan to spend the summer on their sailboat. Normally the idea of being stuck on a tiny boat with her parents and little sister would make Clem break out in hives, but floating away sounds pretty good right now. Then she meets James at one of their first stops along the river. He and his dad are sailing for the summer and he's just the distraction Clem needs. Can he break down Clem's walls and heal her broken heart?
The easiest way for me to describe Unbreak My Heart is that it was uninspired. I liked it okay, but I didn't feel like it really pushed any boundaries or tried hard enough to be something different. It was just an okay kind of book.

Our main character, Clem, didn't really do anything for me. I was really hoping that she would be this deep, emotional-type girl, but I found that most of the emotions that she experienced went from anger to guilt to sadness and back again. She just wasn't who I hoped she would be. She was honest and I'm glad that we got to see her story, but I was hoping for more.

Speaking of her story, it seemed to be very long and drawn out. It seemed like we were only getting bits at a time, and while that can be fun, in this case it just made me want to get to the bottom of the mystery so I could stop obsessing over it! OMG, I really hate it when I obsess about something that really doesn't matter like that. I mean, it matters, but it would have been better if we could have gotten more of the story at one time, instead of making it this big ordeal.

I have to say, though, it did mesh really well in a past and present type way, which was nice. What else was nice, you ask? Well, the romance between James and Clem was actually very cute, but it can adequately be described as nice, which is a bit disappointing. I don't really see it going anywhere, to tell you the truth, which is kind of saddening.

All in all, Unbreak My Heart was an alright kind of read that I liked okay, but it didn't wow me.

December 17, 2013

Top Ten New-to-Me Authors I Read in 2013

1. A.G. Howard, author of Splintered
2. Moira Young, author of Blood Red Road
3. Christopher Healey, author of The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom
4. Rainbow Rowell, author of Fangirl and Eleanor and Park
5. Ruta Sepetys, author of Out of the Easy
6. Lindsay Ribar, author of The Art of Wishing
7. Maggie Stiefvater, author of The Raven Boys and The Dream Thieves (I think I cheated a little on this one.)
8. Jessica Verdi, author of My Life After Now
9. Lindsey Leavitt, author of Sean Griswold's Head
10. Sarah Strohmeyer, author of Smart Girls Get What They Want

This week's post is kind of sparse, guys. I guess I just don't really branch out from the authors that I know. :P